Column

Is there room for the 30-something generation to respect their elders?

By Ana R. Klenicki
For The Taos News
Posted 3/7/19

Hi folks, I guess it is a little too late already to wish you all a Happy New Year, but, why not? We are only in the third month of 2019, so it is early enough. (Please note that I am not using …

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Column

Is there room for the 30-something generation to respect their elders?

Posted

Hi folks, I guess it is a little too late already to wish you all a Happy New Year, but, why not? We are only in the third month of 2019, so it is early enough. (Please note that I am not using percentages, today’s new mantra). In addition, I did not think I would continue to write at all this year, but something happened recently that I want to share with you all.

I had to have eye surgery to try to repair a problem retina. I had kind of postponed it until I could do it no longer. Unfortunately, retina work is not like cataract surgery. The post-op is much harder and I was not prepared enough for it; for me ignorance is not bliss. In other words, I was not prepared to feel awful, incapacitated and above all, unable to drive. This experience has prompted me to ask (and this is the million dollar question for you all): How is it possible that so may people, primarily women although men are also increasingly participating, subject themselves to plastic surgery? I guess the obvious answer is vanity; it is the eternal effort to fight aging and the misguided belief that aging can actually, if not be stopped, at least slowed down.

I do not stop being amazed by this or that celebrity who appears on TV looking different – plastic, stretched-out so there are no wrinkles. First of all, we cannot recognize who she or he is, then, we look in amazement as the real face, the one that became famous once, has been so changed. Do you remember when photographs were our key to the past? Do you remember when we looked at our grandparents and relatives from the “old” world? Nobody had changed, they had simply aged. Not today, when our appearances change as our clothes change – when our looks last a mere second in our new, digital, plastic world.

As a witness from one generation to the next, it amazes me to see the newer generation’s efforts to twist the passage of time. The truth is that no matter what or who or how, time walks by at an inexorable pace. What is the beauty of nature, our so loved Taos sunrises and sunsets, if not the passage of time? And no matter how many times or in how many different ways we try to change it, it is the passage of time that rules sublime, and we should submit to it without complaining. It is, after all, the law of nature.

And now, the second related issue. I was faced for the first time with the cruel reality of how most people deal with old folks. Just like many people today do not want to appear old, many today deal with seniors as if we are a bunch of feeble, silly, handicapped entities. While in the hospital being prepped for the surgery, I was talked to as if I were a baby – the only thing missing was the tickling under the chin. Things were repeated multiple times. Those of you who know me, do I impress you as being that feeble? After the surgery it was just as bad because everybody expected me to be nonfunctional for a while, in spite of what the doctor had said. Well, I still cringe, annoyed.

So, what to do (if anything) at a moment when so many want to turn their clocks back, when old age does not generate respect and represent a life well lived? I guess the best thing to do is continue living as independently as possible; continue engaging in as many true intellectual feasts, including reading good books and, above all, believing that the cup is always half full – that the best is yet to come!

The Spanish version of this column is here.

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